Research: Cooling MS


Summers MP et al.  Keeping cool: use of air conditioning by australians with multiple sclerosis Mult Scler Int. 2012;2012:794310. Epub 2012 Mar 28.

Despite the known difficulties many people with MS have with high ambient temperatures, there are no reported studies of air conditioning use and MS. This study systematically examined air conditioner use by Australians with MS. A short survey was sent to all participants in the Australian MS Longitudinal Study cohort with a response rate of 76% (n = 2,385). Questions included hours of air-conditioner use, areas cooled, type and age of equipment, and the personal effects of overheating. Air conditioners were used by 81.9% of respondents, with an additional 9.6% who could not afford an air conditioner. Regional and seasonal variation in air conditioning use was reported, with a national annual mean of 1,557 hours running time. 90.7% reported negative effects from overheating including increased fatigue, an increase in other MS symptoms, reduced household and social activities, and reduced work capacity. Households that include people with MS spend between 4 and 12 times more on keeping cool than average Australian households
The are quite a few post on the blog concerning the influence of heat and MS. With the good old British weather we seldom really need air conditioning except for a few days, or a week or so a year. However in hotter climes this is more of an issue. The Blog is very multinational and for our readers in Oz and you may be interested by this. However I guess you realise that you are using your aircons alot.

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  • How true! Typing this at 11.17pm on an autumn Aussie Day in the sunny state of Queensland. According to my computer it is 20 degrees centigrade, probably a Brit summer! But this country is one of extremes – top end currently 34 degrees, lower, around 5. Heat really is quite cruel for 4-5 months of the year where I live, suffice to say my home is air-conditioned.

  • Live in U.S., N.E. Ohio and the temp was 90 degrees on May 3 and very unseasonable. Today the temp should be in the 70's. Having MS I need to stay cooler. We usually turn the A.C. on in Mid June. I use a fan allot of the times to keep cool.

  • The plains of Pakistan & North India are very hot in summer and quite cold in winter. This year we had the 'coolest April in 30 years': the maximum for the month in Delhi was only 37C (98.6F). Eventually the daily maximum goes to over 45(113F) and daily minimum to over 30(86F).

    In July the rains start & temperatures come down a bit but humidity goes up and the weather is quite unbearable. That is when schools & colleges reopen. They are not air-conditioned.

    In March, April & part of May we use an evaporative cooler in the house. It is very effective in low humidity and running costs are low. From mid-May till sometime in October we use the air-conditioners.

    In Dec & Jan the minimum is sometimes less than 5C (41F) or even less than 2C. With MS even the cold is difficult. We have small portable heaters and use them quite a lot.

  • I live in SW Ohio. My goal is too not use the a/c til mid June. But as soon as the temp hits 80 deg. F with high humidity, I go for the a/c. I use to enjoy the heat, camp in August, play / lay out / work in the sun for hours. Those days are over. My skin crawls, increased fatigue, muscle weakness makes me fear the heat.



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